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Gordon Crown
G Crown 
Gordon reenacts the final move of his most famous game. (CHESS, January 1948)  
Number of games in database: 17
Years covered: 1943 to 1947
Overall record: +11 -4 =2 (70.6%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

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Most played openings
D31 Queen's Gambit Declined (3 games)
B74 Sicilian, Dragon, Classical (2 games)

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(born Jun-20-1929, died Nov-17-1947, 18 years old) United Kingdom

[what is this?]
Gordon Thomas Crown was born on the 20th of June 1929 in Liverpool, England. He learnt to play chess aged nine and soon became strong enough to win the Lancashire Junior Championship three times running. He was 2nd at the British Boys Championship in 1946 and in the Hastings Congress of 1946-47 he won 1st place in the Premier Reserve section. In 1947 he won 3rd prize in the British Championship and in September of that year he played 4th board for Britain in the Britain vs USSR match against Alexander Kotov whom he defeated in one of the two games they played (he lost the other one). Crown, who was a diabetic, was rushed to hospital in November of that year suffering from peritonitis; however, complications set in and he died during an operation to save his life. His tragic, premature death (at the age of 18) was a great loss to British chess and the chess world.

Wikipedia article: Gordon Crown

 page 1 of 1; 17 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. G Crown vs Walter Korn  ½-½341943Offhand gameB74 Sicilian, Dragon, Classical
2. P Morley vs G Crown 0-1231945ENGC37 King's Gambit Accepted
3. J J O'Hanlon vs G Crown 0-1421946Nottingham-B2D31 Queen's Gambit Declined
4. J Fuller vs G Crown 1-091946British Boys ChC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
5. G Crown vs E G Sergeant  1-0461946Nottingham-B2C51 Evans Gambit
6. K Charlesworth vs G Crown  1-0461946Nottingham-B2D31 Queen's Gambit Declined
7. G Crown vs R Guy 1-0421946Nottingham-B2D15 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
8. G Crown vs R L Johnson 0-1481946Nottingham-B2D31 Queen's Gambit Declined
9. G Crown vs Lipton 1-0381947?C52 Evans Gambit
10. G Crown vs J Thorn Leeson 1-0241947corrB02 Alekhine's Defense
11. G Crown vs J Wolstenholme 1-0301947Lancashire-chB24 Sicilian, Closed
12. G Crown vs L J Tummers  ½-½261947NED-ENGC88 Ruy Lopez
13. L J Tummers vs G Crown 0-1311947NED-ENGE70 King's Indian
14. Ritson-Morry vs G Crown 0-1101947BCF-ch 34thB58 Sicilian
15. G Crown vs Kotov 1-0351947GBR- URSA07 King's Indian Attack
16. Kotov vs G Crown 1-0371947GBR- URSE81 King's Indian, Samisch
17. M Gellis vs G Crown 0-1461947AUS - GB radio matchB74 Sicilian, Dragon, Classical
 page 1 of 1; 17 games  PGN Download 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Crown wins | Crown loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  ray keene: thanks for the foto ref-very sad indeed
Premium Chessgames Member
  roberts partner: First, the 1947 match was definitely Britain v USSR (as were the preceding 1946 radio match and the subsequent 1954 match in London) and not England v USSR as domdaniel claims and as now mistakenly states in its changed introduction.

The book of the 1947 match by William Winter and Gregory Levenfish (you can find references to it online) is entitled Great Britain v USSR. The 1947 team included a Scot, Dr James Aitken, who played Vyacheslav Ragozin. Aitken also played against Igor Bondarevsky in 1946, while in 1954 the Scot William Fairhurst played, scoring a draw against Isaac Boleslavsky in the British team's crushing 1.5-18.5 defeat.

Second, as to the circumstances of Crown's death. The finger of blame must be pointed at the family doctor for failing to make a timely correct diagnosis. On Sunday 16 November 1947 a chess friend visited the Crown home at Ingledene Road, Liverpool, and found Crown in bed. He explained that his doctor had diagnosed a stomach upset and had recommended rest. The friend and Crown played and analysed together for several hours, and Crown did not appear in any physical discomfort. But that night sfter the friend left his condition deteriorated and he was rushed to hospital where he died in the early morning hours of 17 November. There was also a belief among some Liverpool chessplayers that the hospital procedures could have been better.

On another thread some CG posters expressed surprise at the Ritson Morry v Crown game where Morry fell into a well-known opening trap.

The British championship at Harrogate in August 1947 was played in a spa building where the underfloor heating was still switched on. This coincided with one of the warmest summers on record (it was the year in which Compton and Edrich made their memorable cricket achievements for Middlesex). By the second week of the BCF congress older and overweight players (the latter group including Ritson Morry) were wilting. Ritson also had some long adjourned games, and by the time of his game with Crown in the final round was exhausted. The game finished in 15-20 minutes so by the time other players went to spectate after their opening moves there was just a reset board with no sign of the players and no indication of what had transpired. Other final round results went Crown's way so that he finished third outright and thus got selected on a high board for the USSR match.

Crown was a hard chess worker, very well versed in opening theory, ambitious and self-critical, and improving fast at the time of his death. He was also charmingly pleasant, articulate, outgoing, and an excellent and prolific writer. If he had had a normal lifespan he would probably have reached a higher level than Penrose and English chess would have become competitive at world level much earlier than it did.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ray keene: incredibly well informed-this kibitzer must be someone with a highly detailed knowledge of british chess-my guess is peter c gibbs -but of course i cd easily be wrong!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Was the visiting chess friend Len Barden?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Hmm ... I seem to have been wrong about the Britain/England team thing -- apologies all round. I made my assumption on two main grounds: British teams play as a unit relatively rarely, and the Crown-Kotov game is given as being from an ENG-USSR match in several sources. But it certainly now looks as though they're wrong, and <ray keene> is quite right to compliment the degree of erudition shown by <roberts partner>.

Indeed, he shows more than a detailed knowledge of British chess in the 1940s: A knowledge of British cricket and weather is also apparent. I have trouble remembering the 1960s & 1970s, despite actually living through them: such knowledge of the 1940s, 20-30 years earlier, is impressive.

That said, I think the modified section of the biog regarding Crown's illness and death is now more apt. Thanks, <chessgames>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: They say if you remember about the 60's you didn't live through them.


Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Over the 4th, 5th and 6th of October 1947 in a wireless match Great Britain defeated Australia over ten boards 7 points to 3.

Great Britain Australia

1.C H O'D Alexander 0 L Steiner 1
2.H Golombek = C J S Purdy =
3.R J Broadbent 1 G Koshnitsky 0
4.G T Crown 1 M Gellis 0
5.W Winter = M E Goldstein =
6.P S Milner-Barry 1 F A Crowl 0
7.W A Fairhurst 1* M Green 0*
8.Dr J M Aitken 1 B Y Mills 0
9.G Abrahams = H Klass =
10.R H Newman = G Karoly =

*The Fairhurst - Green game was adjudicated by Znosko-Borovsky

The ( White ) Gellis - Crown ( Black ) game reached the following position with White to play his 37th move.


click for larger view

Play proceeded

37.Re3 Rd3
38.Qa7 Rd2+
39.Kh1 Qc7
40.Kg1 g5
41.b3 gxf4
42.R3e1 f3
43.Rf2 Rd3
44.Rc1 e3
45.Rxf3 Rd1+
46.Rf1 Rxf1+

And Gellis resigned 0-1.

What, however, would have happened if White had played 37.f5?

Sep-19-09  vonKrolock: <Benzol> Maybe Gellis was concerned, in the case of 37.f5, about 37...♖d2+ - looks at least very sharp... ♗ut after the actual 37.♖e3 ♖d3?, the simple ♖ takes, ♙ takes, ♕ check and take ♙ 'd3' looks safe for white. <38.♕a7> gives Crown a new chance for a complex struggle, with a better place for the black ♕ in 'c7'. After <40...g5>! the position becomes periclitating, and <41.b3> was certainly not an ▢ move for the difficult defense .... Good fighting game - complete score <not> available ?!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <vonKrolock> < Good fighting game - complete score <not> available ?!>

Unfortunately no. However, I have some of the other games from this match which I'll upload as soon as I'm able.

The analysis that C J S Purdy gives is the following:

37.f5 Rd2+ 38.Rf2 e3 39.Rxd2 exd2 40.Qd4+ Kg8 41.Qxd2 Qe4 42.Re3 and White should win.

Or 37.f5 gxf5 38.Rfg1 Qe4 ( checking with 38...Rd2+ is followed by 39.R1g2 Rxg2+ 40.Kxg2 ) 39.Qf6+.

Or 37.f5 Rd6 38.f6.

I was just wondering if Black could improve somewhere?

Jun-20-10  BIDMONFA: Gordon Thomas Crown

CROWN,Gordon T.

Jun-20-10  theodor: chapeau, mon vieu!
Aug-29-10  thegoldenband: Just found this interesting bit at Edward Winter's Chess Notes site (#6742), from an old article by William Hartston:

‘Some time ago the great Russian player David Bronstein gave me this advice: “Look at the games of Gordon Crown. He really understood chess”.’

Premium Chessgames Member
  roberts partner: The full story....

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: <Benzol>The ( White ) Gellis - Crown ( Black ) game reached the following position with White to play his 37th move.

This was Crown's last competitive game before his tragic death.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <Graham> thanks. :)

Any chance of finding the full gamescore somewhere?

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: <Benzol> thanks. :) Any chance of finding the full gamescore somewhere?

I have the full score in one of Anthony Wright's excellent books on Australian chess. I will post the game and also upload it to the database shortly.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <I have the full score in one of Anthony Wright's excellent books on Australian chess. I will post the game and also upload it to the database shortly.>

<Graham> that's great news. I look forward to its appearance.

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: <Benzol>,
Here is the full game score:

[Event "Australia versus Great Britain Radio Match"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "1947.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Gellis, Dr Max"]
[Black "Crown, Gordon Thomas"]
[Result "0-1"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Be2 g6 7. O-O Bg7 8. Be3 O-O 9. Nb3 Be6 10. f4 Qc8 11. h3 Rd8 12. g4 d5 13. e5 Ne4 14. Nxe4 dxe4 15. Qe1 f6 16. exf6 exf6 17. c3 f5 18. Qh4 b6 19. gxf5 Bxf5 20. Kh2 Qc7 21. Rg1 Kh8 22.Rg2 Qe7 23. Qf2 Bf6 24. Bb5 Rac8 25. Bxc6 Rxc6 26. Bd4 Bxd4 27. Nxd4 Rc5 28. Rg3 Bc8 29. Qe3 Rf8 30. Re1 Bb7 31. Rgg1 Qd6 32. Rgf1 b5 33. a3 a6 34. Ne6 Rd5 35.Nxf8 Qxf8 36. Qb6 Qe7 37. Re3 Rd3 38. Qa7 Rd2+ 39. Kh1 Qc7 40. Kg1 g5 41. Rg3 gxf4 42. Rg4 f3 43. Rf2 Rd3 44. Rf1 e3 45. Rxf3 Rd1+ 46. Rf1 Rxf1+ 0-1

Source, "Australian International Chess: 1946 to 1972", Anthony Wright, Melbourne, 2001

Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: i just read his name from the book 101 Chess Opening Traps by Steve Giddins..

rest in peace, master Crown..

Jun-20-12  LoveThatJoker: Gordon Thomas Crown, today you are remembered!


Jun-20-12  Abdel Irada: Here lies one whose name was writ in tactics.
Jun-20-12  brankat: A tragic loss indeed. Such a fine talent gone so early in life.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: I'd never heard of this player. And I thought I knew everything there was to know about chess history. 18 years old! Very sad.
Jun-20-16  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Gordon Thomas Crown.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jean Defuse: ...

<Gordon Thomas Crown. Only the good die young>


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